Addressing Oregon’s new heat and smoke rules

Oregon workplace advocates and representatives are closely following the recent adoption of two new Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) workplace regulations. On May 12, 2022, Oregon OSHA announced new permanent rules to protect workers from the hazards of high heat and wildfire smoke. Both rules include some initial protective measures for workers who live in employer-provided housing.

The heat rule takes effect this week on June 15, while the wildland smoke rule is effective July 1. Both rules are the most protective of their kind in the U.S. The rulemaking is a result of work done by the technical advisory committee (which included employers, public health advocates and industrial hygiene and other technical experts), community stakeholder comments, and final rule determination by the agency. They were initiated by Gov. Brown in her March 2020 executive order 20-04, joining other initiatives to mitigate the effects of climate change. The rules were welcomed by many, including environmental and labor groups. Similar but not identical rules were also adopted in Washington by the Washington State Department of Labor, while California was the first state to adopt permanent wildfire smoke rules in 2021.

Many resources have been created by Oregon OSHA to assist employers in meeting the requirements of the rule and help protect Oregon workers from the ill effects of both heat and smoke. Here are a few items to help employers, safety teams, worker advocates and employees learn more.

Resources from Oregon OSHA to address requirements of Heat Illness Prevention Rule

Heat illness prevention online course in Spanish and English

Fact sheet about the key requirements of the heat rule in Spanish and English

Fact sheet about the heat rule’s rest break schedule options

Topic Page on heat stress, including materials updated for the new rule, filter by publications, education, rules, videos and more.

Resources from Oregon OSHA to address requirements of Employee Exposure to Wildfire Smoke Rule

Wildland Smoke online course in Spanish and English

Fact sheet about the key heat rule requirements in Spanish and English

Topic Page on wildfire smoke, including materials updated for the new rule, filter by publications, education, rules, videos and more.

Using Air Quality Index (AQI) to Assess Wildfire Smoke (DEQ)

Other help

Resources from SAIF on heat and wildland smoke.

Free Oregon OSHA consultations for employers to improve workplace safety and health programs – no fault, no citations, no penalties.

DCBS Multicultural Communications Program, providing outreach to communities with limited English proficiency. Toll-free number for Spanish-speaking Oregonians: 800-843-8086.

Ombuds Office for Oregon Workers for help understanding workplace safety and health rights, and workers’ compensation rights.

We appreciate the hard work of those dedicated to improving safety and health conditions for workers in Oregon and beyond.

 

 

Leave a Reply